Sun, Jun 23, 2002 - Page 2 News List

Students get green light to study in Kinmen

SCHOOL PROGRAM Taiwanese doing business in China have long complained about the education system not meeting their needs, but now they are getting a break

By Lin Miao-Jung  /  STAFF REPORTER

With the approval of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) and the Ministry of Education, an estimated 80 students whose parents have invested in China's southeastern Fujian Province will go to school in Kinmen this coming September.

This will give Taiwanese businesspeople living in China the opportunity to allow their children to study Taiwanese textbooks and be taught by Taiwanese teachers without any communist interference, due to Kinmen's proximity to China. Kinmen is only around 3km away from China's southeast coast.

The education problem has been a headache for Taiwanese parents who do business in China. In order to retain family unity, most Taiwanese businesspeople have their children live with them in China, but in so doing must sacrifice their children's education in Taiwan.

Since the tuition for international schools in China is expensive and schools exclusively for Taiwanese students are not available in Fujian, most Taiwanese students go to Chinese schools -- where communist ideology and hostile thoughts toward Taiwan are taught.

`Little communists'

"We really don't want to see our children going to school to be cultivated as `little communists,'" said Tom Huang (黃鐵榮), president of Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce in the Chinese port city of Xiamen, which started its direct trade and transport with Kinmen one and one half years ago under the "small three links."

The "small three links" policy opened the door for direct trade and transport between Kinmen and Xiamen. Since then, Huang and other Taiwanese businessmen in Fujian have been pushing the government to allow their children to be educated in Kinmen -- where the curriculum and education are the same as in Taiwan.

"We would feel better if our kids could be educated in the same way as when we were young," Huang added.

New possibilities

Together with the measure announced by the MAC last week that allows Fujian-based Taiwanese businessmen to join Kinmen and Matsu residents in traveling to China from Kinmen and Matsu without prior permission from the government, the education plan for their children became possible.

An investigation conducted by the MAC showed that 64 elementary, 14 junior high, and three senior-high Fujian-based Taiwanese students who currently study in China would prefer to go to class in Kinmen.

If everything goes smoothly, the designated schools -- Kinhu Elementary School (金湖國小), Kincheng Junior High (金城國中) and Kinmen Senior High School (金門高中) will open their doors for such students next semester.

To gain an understanding of Kinmen's education environment, a group of 41 Fujian-based Taiwanese parents visited Kinmen last Tuesday and Wednesday and said that they were satisfied with the schools.

"Now, we don't have to worry about the communist ideology and simplified Chinese characters used in China," said Su Po-wen (蘇博文), the vice president of the Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce in Xiamen.

In order to promote the education industry in Kinmen, the Kinmen magistrate Lee Chu-feng (李炷烽) said in an introductory briefing to parents that Kinmen has plenty of vacant seats for students in each level of the school system.

Lee said Kinmen invests millions in education -- an average of about NT$20,000 per student.

"The parents don't have to worry about the quality of education in Kinmen," he added.

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